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  1. Schroeter, Kathryn PhD, RN, CNOR, CNE

Article Content

There are probably many thoughts that go through your head when you read articles in nursing journals. You may think that the information reflects what you do at your facility or you may think that the information is not really applicable to the practice at your facility. You might also find yourself thinking that the information in the article will help your practice by providing you with more evidence to support or refute the way you currently care for your patient populations. You might even think that the information is new and innovative and that you are also doing such innovative practice or that you have collected some data on patient care and it would be helpful to share the information with others. You may have even found yourself as a member of a care team dealing with a challenging or unusual situation in patient care and thought "I wonder if anyone else has ever dealt with these challenges before?"


If you have had any of these thoughts, you are close to being ready to write for publication. Writing about your practice experiences is one way in which we as health care providers can share our knowledge with others. The knowledge when presented in the format of writing can help others by perhaps confirming any previous actions taken in similar situations or by providing preparatory guidance should any similar situations in patient care occur in their facilities.


You might also have set for yourself a personal or professional goal of publishing an article. However, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the idea of writing a manuscript for a journal. Does that mean you cannot accomplish your goal? Does it mean that you will never be able to write and to get your writing published? Certainly not! There are ways to think about writing and many tips available for those nurses who have something important to say and for those who have goals to achieve in their careers.


So, where do you start? Writing always starts with an idea. Think about what information you have to share and then think about how you can best share it. If the idea of writing is daunting to you, then write about something that you know quite well or an experience that you have had. It will be easier to write about what you know or what you do as it will be you telling your personal story.


Maybe you are intimidated by the idea of writing a large, multipage manuscript. This does not have to be a problem for you as many articles vary in length. If you want to ease your way into writing-perhaps try a shorter format type of article such as a case study or a guest editorial or column. These types of articles can be anywhere from 750 words to approximately 1,500 words. The important thing is that you start writing. Get something down on paper and then use that to keep reviewing and revising. You can build off of your initial draft by having someone else read it and then provide you with some feedback.


The Journal of Trauma Nursing has a mentor program available to provide you with someone who has previously published and can work with you as you develop your manuscript. Finding a mentor is one way to help you work on your article. Another way is to write with another person or persons. Writing as a coauthor is another option for first-time writers. It is often less difficult to write with another person as then you can run your ideas by each other as well as sharing the writing responsibilities so that the workload will not be overwhelming.


If you are a nurse who is in an academic program, you are probably writing many papers already and you most likely have access to professors or others who can give you some feedback related to your writing. Some colleges/universities also have writing services available to their students. You should be able to take advantage of these services to help you develop your writing skills. You can also look for writing workshops to attend. In fact, there will be a preconference writing workshop at the STN national conference in March of 2016. If you have an idea or draft of a paper that you would like to develop-then this might be the program for you to attend. There will be members of the JTN Editorial Board there to provide informational "how-to" presentations as well as "hands-on" time to work in smaller groups or one-on-one with other nurse authors.


There are many ways in which you can begin to write. It is up to you to take the first step. The information that you share via the written word can have impact on the care of patients around the world. Nursing and other health care journals are accessible online so we have the ability to provide guidance and education from the local level to the international level. What a nurse may publish in a journal may literally aid in the saving of a life somewhere. All you have to do is to start writing!